Monday, 14 May 2018


International Service is a charity organisation that focus on international development through the work of teams of 18-25 year old volunteers from the U.K. and Ghana who are placed with international service through the ICS programme. PAGSUNG is an organisation partnered with International Service to carry out projects in sustainable development through their work with women.

PAGSUNG in dagbani means good womanand the organisation consists of women from the shea nut pickers and processors association.The PAGSUNG organisation is focused on empowering women by providing them with a sustainable livelihood and educating them in key areas of their choosing such as money management, language skills and marketing.

Here is an introduction to our team in counterparts:



Our team leaders Cat and Nanna were both ICS volunteers before taking on their own cohorts. For Cat this is her second time being a team leader but for Nanna its a first (not that you can tell). Although this team has presented challenges, such as using the entirety of the medical float at least three times over by the fourth week, they have remained positive and helped everyone to achieve the team goals. Each of them brings their own unique style of leadership that all members of the team respond to and enjoy; as a team we are lucky to have them and couldn't imagine our volunteering experience with anyone else at the helm.  



Hattie has found a love for the markets here in Tamale and under Matildas tutelage has become a champion negotiator getting clothes and fabric for less than half the original cost.  Hattie is also one of our communication leads and has miraculously managed to triple the number of followers Pagsung has on twitter. Matilda may come across as shy but when crossed by a taxi driver trying to charge to high a fee she comes to life and quickly puts them in their place. She takes no nonsense but can always be seen with a smile on her face. 



Hafsa and Azara are definitely the life of any party and though the group has tried, no consensus has been reached on which one of them is the loudest. They were made to be each others counterparts because not only could no one else in the group get a word in edgeways but no one else could keep up with their either of their dance moves (which has been proven by a dancing competition). Opinionated, passionate, hysterical these are just a few of their shared characteristics which make them invaluable to the team.



Lizzie holds a special position within the team as she is the only one with any artistic ability so her talents are often loaned out to people for their various projects. Fatty on the other hand has quickly become one of the teams best pubic speakers, delivering raising awareness sessions in the local language of dagbani to the Pagsung women. We greatly appreciate both of their skills and wouldn't be able to run the project half as effectively without them.



Zara and Gifty both have a love for food and discussing it has been a major point of cultural exchange between the pair. As of now they have realised that Zara is not a fan of TZ but mostly enjoys everything else Ghana has to offer and that Gifty is a fan of crisps, especially pringles, but has an aversion to pizza as she hates cheese. Other than this Gifty can often be found shepherding Zara around town trying to balance not losing her with avoiding her getting hit by cars, so far this has been successful but well see what happens by the end of the 10 weeks.



Zak and Luke have quickly become the best of friends during their placement and the two are generally inseparable. They're so close that even though their host family provided them with a room each to use they decided to share so that they can have long discussions before bed. Always up for a joke the two of them bring some much needed light hearted fun to the group and are always found making others laugh, even at their own expense. Although this project will only last 10 weeks we are sure that Zak and Luke will be lifelong friends, especially as Zaks already planning his visit to the UK as the project continues.                                       


Matt and Jonathan live in a house that by their description has about 40 people who either live in the house or come for daily visits. The two of them are enjoying being a part of an extended family and all of the chaos that goes along with it. Jonathan, although a man of very few words, always has something nice to say about everyone and is the perfect person go to person to cheer people up. Matt is the group organiser, very adeptly keeping everyone on task, leading by example. Anyone feeling short of motivation has to look no further than to ask for his help to feel inspired about the task they are doing.



Rukaya, Maite and Esther have all been incredibly flexible and adaptable due to the odd numbers of volunteers and are great assets to the team.  Rukaya is the mother of the group always taking care of everyone and making sure we all have what we need. Maite is the most experienced volunteer having undertaken similar placements in the past so she is the person to go to with any questions about volunteering and living away from home. Esther is the voice of reason within the group and can always be relied upon to think of a practical solution to any problem. Overall they are invaluable to the team and we are lucky to have them.

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